The Howard University School of Law recently hosted an outreach initiative, sponsored by the National Academy of Arbitrators (NAA or the “Academy”). The “Salon,” as it is termed, is a meeting of seasoned members of the Academy and newer arbitrators. Its intention is to assist newer arbitrators of labor-management and employment disputes in increasing their practices and to learn from veteran arbitrators of the Academy. The goal of the Salon is to identify and reach out to those arbitrators who have a growing practice, particularly persons of color and women, traditionally underrepresented in the ranks of the Academy. Through this outreach, the Salon seeks to expose these newer arbitrators to a broader range of the advocacy community (i.e., those representing labor and management, and plaintiffs and defendants in employment disputes) who select arbitrators.
The National Academy of Arbitrators is the preeminent membership organization for arbitrators of labor-management and employment disputes, consisting of members in Canada and the United States. Application for membership is by invitation and is offered to those arbitrators who have a demonstrated high-level of acceptability among the members of the advocacy community. The Academy was founded in 1947, and the members are governed by a Code of Professional Responsibility. Many labor-management collective bargaining agreements require that disputes arising between the parties be arbitrated only by arbitrators who are a member of the Academy.
Prof. Homer C. La Rue, a full professor at Howard Law, a 25-year member of the Academy, and an Academy vice-president-elect, designed the Salon and is one of the four conveners. La Rue has dedicated a significant portion of his professional time and effort to promoting greater diversity and inclusion in arbitration—believing that there are arbitrators of color and women who are qualified and ready to step into the role. They simply need to be promoted to the advocacy community.
The other Salon conveners: former NAA President, Margie Brogan, (Mid-Atlantic Region); NAA D.C. Regional Chair, Sean J. Rogers (D.C. Region); and NAA Secretary-Treasurer, Walt De Treux (Mid-Atlantic Region). The Salon is sponsored by the D.C. and Mid-Atlantic Regions of the Academy, and had its first meeting in September 2018, and its second on November 29, 2018 at Howard Law. The meetings alternate between Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. at Howard Law.